Like most accountants, at the end of the day you care about the numbers. How much does it cost to get my marketing done?
But it’s good to ask whether that IS what really holds you back in your marketing.
When you look further below the surface, what scares you the most is not just wasted money. It’s the potential for failure. It’s the fear of wasted time and effort when you’re not even sure marketing will work.
We don’t want you to waste money on something that won’t work either.
Accountants, you’ve risen to the occasion. You’re helping business owners who need guidance, and you’re doing it all yourself.
At the time of this writing, we’ll have been in a global pandemic for 8-10 months (depending on where you are in the world). We’ve seen accountants rise to the occasion in monumental ways – helping their clients and marketing their asses off to make sure everyone gets the help they need.
There has never been a time I’ve been more proud to work with accountants than now.
It’s possible you’ve found yourself weary of doing it all yourself. You need some outsourced help to get it done and you need to know how much it will cost.
Get marketing education so you know how and when to invest money.
It’s very hard to do marketing if you don’t actually know what you are doing. Finding some trusted sources to gain marketing education can only help you in the long run. Getting educated means you are ready to invest in your marketing and not just pay someone else to do it. That’s important because the very best marketing will always come from the knowledge and ideas in your head.
PF can help you with strategy and ideas and create a rock solid brand and website. But the reality is we’re taking all those ideas from knowledge in your brain. You know your target audience better than we ever could and that makes for the very best marketing.
Here are a few ways to get educated.
Here’s a list of our top recommended marketing/business books to read.
- Read our blog.
- Follow these people on social media: James Ashford, Mark Schaefer, Ann Handley, Col Gray
- Take the Accelerator training course
When you’ve spent some time on the above education, you’ll begin to see trends that lead to four foundational areas of marketing.
The foundational areas of marketing are: your goals, your brand, your website and your marketing plan.
We talk in detail about your goals and brand being foundational here. Here’s why these areas come first.
Goals: Your goals affect how you run your business. They challenge where you are and where you want to be. They also affect your marketing.
Brand: Your brand attracts the right people (both clients and employees) and repels the wrong ones.
Website: Your website is the largest piece of marketing you have. It needs to communicate to your clients, who you are, how you solve their problems and how much it will cost them.
Plan: Your plan gives you a roadmap for what you need to do and in what order to do it.
After you’ve been educated, look at your brand.
We’ve mentioned in the past how you know if it’s time for a brand refresh or a full brand identity. You can read the full post here, but essentially it comes down to answering these questions.
- Does your brand truly reflect who you are and your values?
- Does your brand carry a story?
- Does your brand deliver for the intended audience?
- Does it communicate your style and tone of voice?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need take another look at your brand.
You need to:
- Identify your core values and what your main purpose is.
- Recognize your clients’ core problems and figure out how you solve them.
- Consider what you imagery and colours represent for your brand.
- Document your specific style and tone of voice.
If you need help with this you can do a Foundations workshop with PF.
The cost of this workshop is £1995 (at time of posting the US exchange rate is around $2595). You’ll walk away from this workshop having accomplished all of the above, along with more we’ll get to in a moment. Can we tell you what the outcome for your brand is right now? Nope. That’s what the workshop’s for.
This is also for anyone who is:
- Not sure what message your brand gives to prospects.
- Thinking of changing your name but not sure if it’s a good idea.
- Looking around at other firm’s brands and thinking they are better.
- Realizing your brand is something that was thrown together a couple years ago without real strategy.
Some possible outcomes of this workshop are as follows:
- You need a full brand identity (logo and name). This starts at around £9k and ranges to the £15k level, depending on what you need.
- You need a logo design or rebrand. This ranges from £5-7k.
- You need a logo refresh. This ranges from £2-3k, depending on the changes or complexity of your existing logo.
(And do remember, when you do a workshop with PF and then end up doing a brand or website project, we’ll reduce your project fee by a portion of the workshop – because we’ve got a great place to start, and don’t need to begin again with strategy since it’s already been discussed! If you decide for any reason not to start a project straight away, you’ve still gotten help and answers and direction.)
Not ready to invest in a Foundations workshop yet? Here are some free resources to help consider your existing brand questions.
Once you’ve confirmed your brand, it’s time to look at your website.
Does your website:
- match your current or updated brand?
- have clearly defined core messages that highlight the issues your clients and prospects face on a day to day basis?
- have strong calls to action on every page?
- have proof you know what you are talking about when it comes to solving your clients’ problems?
- link to your social media platforms?
Answering no to any of the above questions means you need to spend some time on your website.
Out of the book list we mentioned above, “Building a Story Brand” is the best one to look at when it comes to your website. It will give you a starting point for how to structure things to bring the right clients to your firm.
Once you’ve read the book, if you still aren’t ready to go it alone, you can always book our Foundations workshop (starting to see the trend here?) 🙂
You’ll walk away with a plan including the full structure for a new or updated website. Just like with your brand, you’ll need the workshop to identify what you need, in what order, and how complex (or not) the project could be.
The website structure you receive at the end will include which pages we think are critical and the titles for those pages. It will also include the core and supporting messages along with what content and calls to action which are best for each page.
It does not include exact copy or images, but does include the outline to move forward.
After your Foundations workshop you’ll get our recommendation, based on what you’ve shared and our experience of what will help deliver what you want over the next few years, on what would be the best next step. This could include one of these options:
- Refresh your current website (difficult to estimate the exact cost for purposes of this post considering the numerous variables at play).
- Core framework website (a 5 page WordPress framework site, based on the typical journey for the buyers of accounting services, starting in the £3k range)
- Fully custom built WordPress website (custom 5 page site starts around £7k).
If you aren’t ready for the workshop just yet, these free resources will help you make some changes now.
Once you have a solid brand and website carrying a story, reflecting who you are and delivering to your intended audience – you’re ready to plan.
Your marketing plan needs to be strategic, based on everything you know about your audience and what they respond to, as well as your marketing numbers.
You need to be:
- Tracking your numbers to know where people are coming from and where they are going (social media, website, email, etc)
- Keeping in mind who your audience is and how they like to consume content
- Answering the questions your target audience is asking.
If you need help organizing all the marketing ideas and questions swirling around in your head, the final session in your Foundations workshop helps with that. You’ll build a dream list of anything and everything you want to accomplish in marketing. The PF team will listen to all your ideas and then add in ideas of our own. At the end of the workshop you’ll receive a detailed, prioritized breakdown of each of the marketing actions you can take.
If you still need some time to think, here are some free resources to help you get started.
What if I’m not sure or I’m not ready yet?
This is the reason we created the marketing map. Though each accountant may be in a different stage on their marketing journey, this is the route to take to get the best results long term.
We’ve had clients work their way through the map in 6 months and some have taken 6 years. Either way, eventually you make it through each of the stages and find yourself in a place where you’re getting the very best leads.
Watch this video to learn more and to help you self-identify where you are on the map.
After you’ve watched the video you can send an email to us, and we’ll get you set up on a call with one of our team members. We’ll discuss where you think you are on the map and why, and together we’ll identify where your firm is best to start.
Only after you’ve addressed the foundations are you ready for monthly outsourced marketing.
Once you and the PF team together, in partnership, agree you are ready, you can move to a monthly outsourced marketing retainer.
We’ve tried leaping into the monthly retainer work straight away – we did it for over six years before we finally reviewed what was working for accountants and what wasn’t, and created the marketing map. And here’s the thing: it doesn’t. work.
It doesn’t work, because if you want us to write blogs for you (which we can), we have to go back to…what are we writing blogs about? What topics? Who are we writing to? What do they care about? What opinions and thoughts do you and your team have which will make these blogs yours, and not generic, and like every other accounting firm?
The same for social media. Or a website page. Or designed images. Or a PDF guide.
And on and on.
When you’ve addressed the foundational areas, your monthly outsourced marketing is ALWAYS better. Always more effective. That’s actually why we created the monthly co-pilot & tracking service: so you can literally look at your numbers and say “Oh look, when we create custom blogs and post them weekly, we get more website visits. Okay, that makes sense; that helps me understand the bigger picture of why we’re doing this”.
The monthly retainer we suggest starts in the £1500 – £2k range per month. We may hear some of you catching your breath – if so, we get that could feel like a big number to take in. Here’s where it comes from.
You get to work with an agency who know the specific challenges for accountants and accounting firms (and those who buy from them).
While there are some general marketing principles that work across the board (i.e. make your customer the hero of the story, be clear and not confusing, etc.), your industry has a very unique set of problems you are trying to solve for your clients.
At PF we understand what those problems are and we can help you centre your marketing efforts around answering those particular problems.
Matching that with the fact that we only create custom content for each of our accountants makes PF a unique creative agency exclusively for accountants.
Our founder is a qualified accountant, and a creative person (who believes every human, including accountants, are creative too!). The team are designers and content writers and strategists and website developers and client support people who work with accountants day in and day out: and not just any accountants. We work with those who honour the PF pillars – who have integrity and generosity and creativity and rest – and who live up to the PF values (taking responsibility, having an opinion, being positive, showing transparency, collaborating, and being gracious). Those are the kind of accountants we work with: and those are the ones who are getting the kind of clients THEY want to be working with.
You have an entire creative team working for you every month.
While it’s true you could hire an in-house marketing coordinator for less than or equal to what you might pay the PF team, they will not be a project manager, web designer, content writer, and graphic designer all rolled into one. It’s not possible for one person to have all of those skills combined into one: and even if it seems they do, you’ll soon discover there are some of those skills which need more support.
Many of our clients actually have an in-house marketing person, or part time marketing assistant, or even a marketing team: and PF supports them as well as the accountants. If you already have a marketing person, don’t leave them stranded. Get them support and help so they can do the very best job they need to do. (After all, we have a full time marketing manager at PF: but she is supported by every member of the team, she spends time with our clients and course members, and marketing is always an all-team effort.)
And if you don’t have a marketing person yet, this is your outsourced team to take care of all that so you can focus on what you do best. We’ll still chat to you (and your team and clients at times) so your marketing sounds like you, but you’ll be relieved of the burden you had before.
What do I get in my monthly outsourced package?
You’ll find a detailed list of everything here. You’ll have a dedicated Client Marketing Manager (CMM) who will help you identify and execute a number of marketing content and design items each month. Your CMM will also give you a monthly co-pilot & tracking report including all your analytics, and will meet with you to discuss those marketing numbers and what decisions you’ll make that month as a result.
Short version is:
- Monthly co-pilot & tracking report (like monthly marketing management accounts)
- Video summarising your monthly numbers
- Strategy call with your dedicated CMM to discuss those numbers and make the best decisions. (If you have a marketing person, they can sit in on these calls: but the owner or leader needs to be part of them: you don’t simply hand off marketing to others. It’s part of what you do as a leader.)
- Content & design work – custom created for you based on what you determined in your marketing plan & what you discuss monthly. This could include website pages, images, diagrams, PDF guides, video editing, blog post writing, case studies & testimonials, and on and on. Your marketing credits can be used flexibly for all kinds of different things.
- Website management (optional) – If your site is built on WordPress (which we recommend), you can have a flat unlimited management which means we post blogs, build pages, make edits, embed videos, change pages, and anything else you need. This is definitely not a good use of your time, and it’s much more efficient to have the agency who’s designing the page then build it, or who’s writing the blog post to set it up for you.
- Daily social media posting – Alongside everything we’ve learned about you and your firm, we’ll create posts to go out on the main social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) on a daily basis. Together we’ll agree how often the posts go and on what platform. You’ll contribute ideas and comments and links that you and the team like, and we’ll get to know you better and better so eventually you can just let the posts go out. But you’re always in full control of what’s posted and you get to approve it before it goes live.
There’s more, but that’s the core monthly outsourced marketing we recommend for accountancy firms – particularly those with 1-4 partners, up to 100 team members, and wanting to have consistent marketing that doesn’t wax and wane with the moon, or the tax season, or how you feel, or pandemics, or whatever.
How do I start?
Follow the instructions on the preparation page to get started on your journey towards monthly outsourced marketing. In whatever capacity you come to us, we are excited to help you along the way.
Look forward to hearing from you soon!